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How Politicians Find Newer Ways To Take ‘Speed Money’

Speed money is a term regularly used to get work done when dealing with the various government agencies. ‘Green Tax’ was the term used to get work done from the environment ministry in the previous government. With the current government bringing in more transparency and plugging loopholes to make it tougher to make ‘money on the side’, the politicians too are becoming smarter –finding ‘legitimate’ ways to take speed money. I learnt of one such method while interacting with an industrialist of a leading diversified listed conglomerate. This group was to set up a new manufacturing plant in one of the states and was given two options by the politician. The first was the conventional cash. The second option was to invest in the equity capital of an unlisted company at ridiculously high valuations. Since he did not hoard black money, the industrialist chose the second option. The modus operandi was simple. His group invested in a company that had no operating business, hence was basically a paper company or a shell company. On paper it looked like a fraudulent transaction but would never get questioned. This company had many such ‘investors’ who invested to get their work done. ”I am willing to spend money and pick shares in such shell company, even if at a later date I have to write off the investments,” he explained. Ingenuity thy name is politicians!